It’s summertime and if you have young kids, it can seem like there are toys everywhere! Have you contemplated decluttering their toys so you can stop tripping over the chaotic jumble of puzzle pieces, action heroes, building blocks and books scattered as far as the eye can see? Summer is the perfect time to work on this project … with their help.

Involve your child

Before you begin, have a discussion with your child about why you feel you need to declutter their toys. Then get them involved. The toys belong to them and it’s their responsibility to take care of them and keep their room neat. If they aren’t able to do that, it may be that they have too many toys or that there is no easy system in place to help them stay organized.

Start by sorting

Have your child go through their toys and begin to sort them into the toys they play with daily, the ones they have been avoiding, and the ones that are broken or they no longer want. The daily ones you’ll keep, the others you’ll toss out or donate. Really assess that middle group. You may want to store them out of the way in case one day they want to play with them.

Keep like with like

As you declutter, it’s important that you organize what’s left into a usable system that your child can keep up with. Without organization, the room will quickly look messy again. Keep like with like. Store books on the bookshelf. But cars in a plastic see-through tub that’s labeled cars or has a picture of a car on the front. Store art supplies in one art caddy near the paper or easel they’ll be used with.

Donate the excess

Talk to your child about the importance of sharing things that she no longer wants with someone who might love to receive it. Charity and sharing are important life lessons that your child should be exposed to at an early age. By having her choose a few of the toys to share, you’re encouraging her to continue this practice she gets older.

Toss the junk

Please do not donate books with torn pages, puzzles with missing pieces, broken toys or games that do not work. No one wants these things and the charity that you donate them to will have to pay fees to dispose of your garbage. If you have no use for the toy because it’s broken, throw it away or recycle it instead of donating it.

Once you begin to declutter your child’s toys, you’ll find that it’s much easier for them to take care of them and keep their room neat. You can make it an every-six-month event as they age and outgrow things.